You wear many hats as a voice-over artist. You are part-actor, part-storyteller. You are a salesperson, marketer, teacher. You make the world's biggest brands just that little bit more personable. Documentaries, animation, business presentations — you narrate them all. Just like any talent, you deserve a decent wage for your services. Setting your own voice-over rates, however, is a challenge. How much should you charge? Should you factor in taxes? What about the cost of a compressor or limiter? These five tips should help you to have your say...
1. Don't Set Your Rates Too High — or Too Low
Rate-setting is the voice-over artist's eternal dilemma. Set your rates too high, and prospective clients might hire someone else. Set your rates too low, and you earn less money. It's all about striking the right balance — finding a happy medium where you receive more bookings without losing out on the income.
Here at VoiceBunny, you can adjust your rates at any time. Just head over to the Rates and Project Preferences page of your personalized dashboard, and scroll down to "Price-per-word."
Not getting enough bookings? Lower your prices, and see if things improve. This way, you can play around with your rates without pricing yourself out of the market.
2. Work Out Your Desired Salary
Determine your voice-over rates by working out your desired salary — the amount of money you think you should be earning based on your skills, experience and the number of hours you work. "Consider how competitive the market is for your skills," says employee-transition expert Melissa Llarena, writing for Forbes magazine. "If the market is saturated then you don't have as much leverage. Do your research to understand how in-demand your skills are."
Once you've determined your desired salary, translate this amount into an hourly rate. You can do this by dividing your desired salary by the number of hours you work a year.
Here at VoiceBunny, rates are set per word, so divide your hourly rate by 60 and, then, translate that into how many words you can read a minute. Most pros voice 160 words per minute (That's 9,000 words per hour) so you can use that guide. This is just a general guide though — some voice-over projects will require you to talk quicker or slower, depending on the client's brief — but it should give you a rough estimate of the amount to set for your rates.
3. Check Out Other Voice-Over Artists Online
Still not sure what to charge clients? Check out your contemporaries — all those other voice-over artists on the internet. VoiceBunny lets you listen to samples from other pros on their respective profile pages. You can search voice actors by language, age, gender, and purpose. Don't forget to check their per-word rates, too and keep in mind that these prices already include our margins. This will help you determine your own prices.
Alternatively, visit websites like PayScale and Glassdoor, which provide information on voice-over artist salaries, including industry averages. Paylab is another site to check out. The platform has nearly half a million salary profiles, and you can discover the average wage for voice-over artists in your part of the world.
4. Work Out Your Level of Experience
Generally, the more voice-over experience you have, the more money you should charge prospective clients. Yes, companies are always looking for fresh voice-over talent, but seasoned pros tend to have more expertise and skills.
But just how do you define your level of experience?
- First, jot down all the skills you have developed as a voice-over artist. You might have experience in voicing phone systems or product videos, for example. Alternatively, you might have narrated commercials or movie trailers. If you possess abilities that clients find desirable, you can expect to earn much more money as a voice-over artist.
- Second, think about all those qualities that differentiate you from other voice-over artists. You might hold a special talent that sets you apart from everyone else, for example. Perhaps you speak German. Or Korean. Or Flemish. Maybe you have a knack for accents.
Think about your experience when setting your rates. Never undersell yourself!
On VoiceBunny, you can also determine your level of experience by reviewing your stats. If you have completed several projects for clients and have a good rating, you might charge clients more than someone who is new to the platform. You can also increase your rates anytime, so you can increase them as you get better ratings and stats.
5. Consider Other Factors
There are other factors that influence pay rates and determine how much you should charge clients. Here are some of them:
- As a freelance voice-over artist, you are responsible for your own tax obligations. However, many freelancers forget to factor in tax when establishing their rates. Depending on your location, you might want to add 15 to 20 percent to your rates to cover tax contributions.
- Take into account other overheads, too. Perhaps you pay for recording studio time to cut and edit your voice-overs. Maybe you have a sound booth at home but pay for a subscription to use the latest audio recording and editing software. Then there's the cost of microphones and other audio equipment. Calculate all of these costs when setting your voice-over rates.
- If you work for international clients and you get paid in a different currency, exchange rate fluctuations can have an effect on the amount of money you make. As a result, you might want to increase your rates to cover any possible shortfall in funds.
- VoiceBunny charges based on word count only. Usages and/or applications of projects are not being taken into consideration so your rates should be set for any type project you receive regardless of it's distribution channel. If you have different sets of rates for different types of projects, we suggest you use a middle ground between your lower and higher rates so that you're always fairly compensated.
Setting voice-over rates doesn't have to be a difficult process. The five tips above will help you determine your own prices that lead to more jobs and more opportunities. Sometimes, it's trial and error until you find the right pay rate that works for you. With a little persistence, though, you could be earning more money in just a few months from now.
Which one of these five tips was your favorite? Do you have any more voice-over rate tips? Leave a comment below, and let us know. Plus, don't forget to share this page on your Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn.
Article written by Pro BV6IMC0 and modified by Angela Serrano.
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